Growing Cape Gooseberry, also Golden Berry, Inca Berry

Physalis peruviana : Solanaceae / the nightshade family

Jan F M A M J J A S O N Dec

(Best months for growing Cape Gooseberry in USA - Zone 5a regions)

  • S = Plant undercover in seed trays
  • T = Plant out (transplant) seedlings
  • P = Sow seed
  • Easy to grow. Sow in garden. Sow seed at a depth approximately three times the diameter of the seed. Best planted at soil temperatures between 10°C and 25°C. (Show °F/in)
  • Space plants: 100 - 150 cm apart
  • Harvest in 14-16 weeks.
  • Compatible with (can grow beside): Will happily grow in a flower border but tends to sprawl over other plants.
  • Cape Gooseberry plant
  • Flowers
  • unripe fruit

A straggling bush up to one metre tall that bears yellow fruits inside a brown papery envelope. It is perennial. The cape gooseberry is related to tomatillo, ground cherry and husk tomato, all in the genus Physalis.

Cape Gooseberry is very easy to grow and as the fruit are popular with birds the plants can be easily spread around the garden. If you have plenty of room then plants grow better with 1.5m of space. Spacing closer works but you may get less fruit.

Culinary hints - cooking and eating Cape Gooseberry

The berry is the size of a cherry tomato, is very aromatic and full of tiny seeds. They are delicious eaten fresh or can be made into jam. They can be added to salads, desserts and cooked dishes, they are delicious stewed with other fruit, especially apples. They also go well in savoury dishes with meat or seafood. Can be preserved dried as 'Inca Berries'

Your comments and tips

23 Jul 22, Merina Bjordin (Canada - Zone 3b Temperate Warm Summer climate)
I planted them last year in a pot - did not know for sure what they were, but brought them in and kept them alive (barely) all winter. This spring, thinking the plant was mostly dead, I put it out in late May. Now in mid July and after a very rainy June, it is thriving- the plant is quite ugly so it’s been at the back of the house, but now that I know what it is, I’ll put it in a sunny spot out front. I’m hoping for berries.
16 Jul 22, Dave (Australia - sub-tropical climate)
Hi Carol. Sorry to say in my experience possums can do that and if they don't rats will. Where we live I have mine planted in a hut made of chicken wire and stops all those problems. I think you'll have to protect yours better as well
02 Jul 22, Carol (New Zealand - sub-tropical climate)
We had a lovely Cape gooseberry plant growing in a pot and doing really well. Something over a week at nights has proceeded to demolish it first just the leaves then the unripe fruit then last night it has broken the whole plant and destroyed it...can you tell me if it would be possums or a rabbit maybe?
05 May 22, Mati (Australia - temperate climate)
Hello. I need a few information regarding something I have no knowledge. I've been asked to write a report on Cape Gooseberries (golden berries) and regular Gooseberry plant, how they differ from each other, and whether or not they're compatible with each other; as in if these two plants can be grown side by side. Now as I have zero idea on gardening, I'm having to fully rely on the internet. I've found most of what I need to know. Except for if these two plants can be grown in close proximity in a garden. Can someone kindly provide me with a detailed answer to this?
06 May 22, Anonymous (Australia - sub-tropical climate)
Both gooseberries and ground cherries are very unique and distinctive fruits. Due to their different needs, they usually won’t be found together on the same plantation or state.(I don't know what the differences are but could be climate, temperatures etc). Taken from -
10 Feb 22, B Welch (New Zealand - sub-tropical climate)
I plant the public road fences of my farm with various edibles. Our Cape Gooseberrys are dropping fruit on the ground, some of which I assume will grow. I intend to drill holes about 3m apart, 150mm deep, just to loosen the clay, then push a whole fruit in, and cover with 10mm of clay, hide it from birds etc. I know that sounds rough, but it's a lot of planting, so I'd like to keep it simple. what are my chances? What extra must I do? Slow release fert? Thanks B.
17 Feb 22, Celeste Archer (Canada - Zone 7b Mild Temperate climate)
Clay soil is a massive topic, I suggest you read a few articles - here is a very positive one: -- like the article states your soil is probably loaded with nutrition, water is the real issue; the way clay soil gets water logged and heavy. The standard rule of thumb with clay soil is: load it up with organic matter (manure, leaves, kitchen compost, etc.). You can just LAYER these on the soil. Additionally, choosing plants that tolerate/like clay soil -- I think the hardy kiwi can tolerate this soil as well as American Persimmon, osage oranges and lots of other plants. They have online plant finders that can help you isolate which plants have the highest probability of success. One thing I did notice when working with heavy clay soils was that plants take a lot longer to establish and grow. I suspect I wouldn't make the effort to plant anything other than plants that are specifically listed as clay tolerant -- you have to go right down to the type of plant: for example: OSAGE oranges not just any oranges .... but maybe all oranges can tolerate clay... you need to check by the type.
11 Feb 22, Anonymous of Bundaberg (New Zealand - sub-tropical climate)
You need better soil than clay. It is like anything, the better the preparation the better the result. A shovel load of good soil will have better results.
13 Jan 22, Elisabeth (USA - Zone 7b climate)
Are cape gooseberries and ground cherries the same?
17 Jan 22, Anonymous (USA - Zone 4a climate)
Ground cherries (Physalis spp.), often called cape gooseberries, are native in many parts of the United States and often grow in fields and alongside roads.
Showing 1 - 10 of 527 comments

Are cape gooseberries and ground cherries the same?

- Elisabeth

Please provide your email address if you are hoping for a reply

All comments are reviewed before displaying on the site, so your posting will not appear immediately

Gardenate App

Put Gardenate in your pocket. Get our app for iPhone, iPad or Android to add your own plants and record your plantings and harvests

Planting Reminders

Join our 60,000+ gardeners who already use Gardenate and subscribe to the free Gardenate planting reminders email newsletter.

Home | Vegetables and herbs to plant | Climate zones | About Gardenate | Contact us | Privacy Policy

This planting guide is a general reference intended for home gardeners. We recommend that you take into account your local conditions in making planting decisions. Gardenate is not a farming or commercial advisory service. For specific advice, please contact your local plant suppliers, gardening groups, or agricultural department. The information on this site is presented in good faith, but we take no responsibility as to the accuracy of the information provided.
We cannot help if you are overrun by giant slugs.